Digging deep for Finals sublplots   

Updated: June 9, 2007, 11:10 PM ET

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The NBA Finals tip off tonight in San Antonio. Being that it's been five days since the championship matchup was set, I'm sure by now you've read numerous previews breaking down each team and how it can win the title.

So I'm not going to give you yet another one of those previews. (Although I could toooootally write intelligently like that if I wanted to. Totally.)

Instead, I want to share with you some of the NBA Finals stories that aren't getting much coverage. For example, did you know that Manu Ginobili and Anderson Varejao can speak three languages fluently, but both can say "Aaaaaah! Aaaaaah! Aaaaaah! I was fouled!" in more than 100 languages?

It's true. Maybe.

Read on for more semi-factual NBA Finals knowledge.

NBA Finals ratings are down 54 percent since 1998.

The 1998 Finals between Chicago and Utah brought the NBA its highest ratings ever. Things have dropped off drastically since then. However, league officials think this year's Finals will again return the NBA to ratings glory. But no, silly, it's not because LeBron James' first championship appearance could be as riveting as Michael Jordan's final one. It's because the 1998 Finals have one thing in common with the 2007 Finals. Think about it. Exactly. Jacque Vaughn. Everyone knows the nation loves it some Jacque Vaughn.

Bruce Bowen hates fat kids.

Come on, Bruce, admit it. Why else would you run a program in the San Antonio community aimed at ending childhood obesity? What, were you bullied as a child by husky jeans-wearers? Is that the cause of the anger inside you that manifests itself in borderline dirty play on the court? So now it's your life goal to do away with obese children. I see how it is. Well, do you know what this world would be like without heavy people? Do you? We would have no Santa Claus.

Is that what you want, Bruce? No Santa Claus? You disgust me, sir.

The 2003 Parade All-America Team was good to the Cavaliers.

Cleveland has three players on its roster who were named high school All-America by Parade magazine in 2003: LeBron James, Daniel Gibson and the inactive Shannon Brown. The only other team in the NBA this season with that many 2003 Parade All-Americans was the Boston Celtics (Kendrick Perkins, Leon Powe, Sebastian Telfair). Obviously, then, the key to success in the NBA is stocking your roster with 2003 Parade All-Americans.

As long as one of those Parade All-Americans is LeBron James.

LeBron James has the same birthday as Tiger Woods.

That's a strange historical coincidence, huh? Two of the most transcendent athletes of our generation were born on Dec. 30. Boxer Laila Ali and British poet Rudyard Kipling also were born on Dec. 30. Can you guess which one of the four never had an expensive shoe contract?

Tim Duncan loves knives.

According to Duncan's bio on the Spurs' Web site, he has a large knife collection that includes a three-foot samurai sword. That's right -- the man whose face is always either a dead, emotionless stare or this likes him some cutlery. RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!

Game 6 was not Daniel Gibson's official coming out party.

Daniel Gibson's 31-point explosion in the final game of the Eastern Conference Finals was not the first time we've seen all he has to offer. Well, maybe. Last season in his sophomore year at Texas, a picture of Gibson trying to block the shot of Texas A&M's Acie Law appeared in the Bryan-College Station (Tex.) Eagle. In the picture his game shorts were riding up and it appeared his, uh ... "special friend" was hanging out. The Eagle was deluged with complaints from shocked and offended readers. The paper claimed it was merely an optical illusion created by a glimpse of the inside of Gibson's shorts. Was it? Impossible to know. But I can tell you that in order to avoid such confusion, Texas should stop wearing game shorts that have phallus-print linings.

Scot Pollard is ready to take his pro-drug stance to the masses.

If San Antonio backup point guard Jacque Vaughn is indeed able to bring in big Finals viewership, it will give Cavaliers center Scot Pollard an opportunity to deliver his unique "do drugs" stance to millions of children across the country. See, back in March, Pollard looked into a TV camera during a game and said: "Hey kids, do drugs." Pollard later said it was a poor attempt at humor: "It was a bad joke. That's all it boils down to. There are a number of things people could say about it, but it just turned out it was a bad joke. Obviously, I don't believe that." Really, Scot? Really? Your words say it was a joke, but your hair says it was not.

(Oh, and Bruce Bowen? You might want to talk to Mr. Pollard during the Finals. He could help you with the whole child obesity thing. Ever heard of heroin chic? If that's not your thing, cigarettes work, too.)

Speaking of hair, Drew Gooden is sticking with ... whatever that is.

Cavaliers power forward Drew Gooden will not give into the pressure to not look like an embarrassing freak. He's keeping that chunk of hair on the back of his neck. And if I was him, I'd watch myself. Don't be surprised if Manu Ginobili borrows one of Tim Duncan's knifes to scalp Gooden and place that chunk of hair on his bald spot. It's a perfect fit.

The Spurs have caved to the T-shirt craze.

After seeing the Jazz and the Warriors give out T-shirts to their fans during the playoffs, the Spurs have decided to do the same for tonight's opening game at the AT&T Center. Every fan in attendance will get a white T-shirt emblazoned with the team's logo and the line "Go Spurs Go." Plus, each T-shirt features triple-weave cotton on the back so San Antonio fans can flop on the ground just like their hero Manu Ginobili without risk of tearing or stretching the shirt.

Francisco Elson is just the seventh Dutch player in NBA history.

The Netherlands is by no means a basketball factory, but the Rotterdam-born center has put together a respectable four-year NBA career and has logged valuable time off the bench for the Spurs all season. And just think how good he'd be if he shed those awkward wooden basketball sneakers.

Tony Parker will be Mr. Tony Longoria in exactly one month.

Thirty days from now Tony Parker will wed Eva Longoria in Paris. Longoria has said they have been abstaining from sex for several months in preparation for the wedding and so Parker can put all of his efforts into the playoffs. Interesting approach. Perhaps we have hit upon the cause of A-Rod's postseason woes.

Ohio's governor really has an eye for art.

A 10-story Nike banner featuring LeBron James hangs on the side of downtown Cleveland building near Quicken Loans Arena. The Ohio Department of Transportation says the massive banner should come down because it violates federal highway beautification standards. But Ohio governor Ted Strickland disagrees, saying yesterday: "I'd say it's an impressive, emotive display, and I would consider it art, so I've asked ODOT to cease any efforts to seek removal of the sign." Strickland is right. This is an example of judging what is art based on "I know it when I see it." A huge mural of LeBron James on display while the Cavaliers have united and excited the city with their run to the Finals? That's art. But a mural of the same size and in the same place but showing a Cleveland Browns player?

That would be disgusting, immoral pornography of the lowest form and something the good people of Cleveland should not be subjected to.

LeBron James cares not for the miracle of birth.

James' second child is due June 17 -- the same day as Game 5. But he has told his girlfriend that he's not missing any games over the birth. "I was there for my first one, so it's definitely going to be tough on me. But I think she understands how much I love my teammates and how much they need me." I'm sure she does, LeBron. But you might want to ixnay on the definitely-going-to-be-tough-on-me nay. You know, what with your girlfriend being the one who has to squeeze a human out of a body orifice.

But, yeah, just make sure you have someone there you trust to cut the cord and then immediately tattoo the baby's forehead with a Nike swoosh. Or is it the tattoo first, then the cord-cutting? I forget.

DJ Gallo is the founder and sole writer of the sports satire site SportsPickle.com. He is also a regular contributor to ESPN The Magazine and has written for The Onion and Cracked. His first book -- "SportsPickle Presents: The View from the Upper Deck" is on sale now.



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